Major boost for lithium sulfur batteries in electric trucks

Major boost for lithium sulfur batteries in electric trucks

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Lithium Sulfur Future Automotive Battery (LiS:FAB) project is led by Li-S pioneer OXIS Energy aims to deliver a 400 Wh/kg Li-S cell for large automotive applications. This will allow buses and trucks to carry considerably more weight and will cost less because of the cheaper materials.

However, this will require improvements to the materials, State of Charge and State of Health (SoC and SoH) monitoring of the cells, along with more cost effective manufacturing.

“The LiSFAB project is a significant step forward for OXIS Lithium Sulfur chemistry and technology. Achieving the programme’s set goals signifies that we can replace the use of fossilised fuel with rechargeable batteries that are benign to the environment. When Europe is spending €1billion a day on oil, OXIS Li-S batteries make a big impact towards reducing pollution,” said Huw Hampson-Jones, CEO of OXIS Energy.

There are four parts to the project.

For the ‘Cell Performance’, OXIS will work with University College London and materials supplier William Blythe Ltd on new materials to improve performance and characterise electrodes and cells using Xray tomography. This aspect of the work will build on past projects that increased cell specific energy (Wh/kg), with further improvements being made to cycle life, power and cell design to meet the performance and safety needs of EVs.

In ‘Cell Characterisation’, cells will be tested extensively to inform development. Rigorous safety tests, rapid test protocols/formation studies, degradation/abuse analysis will be carried out. Software tools will also be further developed from the recent Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Battery (REVB) project to allow analysis of large amounts of test data.

OXIS will also work with UK heat sealing specialist Ceetak to develop the pouch cell sealing technology required to make a robust automotive cell, whilst a pilot facility will be designed for the cells that are developed on this project. This will include a new non-invasive X-Ray quality control process to check the cells during manufacturing developed with University College London.

Collaborating with Cranfield University on the ‘Module Development’ activity, OXIS will build on the control algorithms developed by REVB to better estimate SoC and SoH and create intelligent charging algorithms to improve lifetime. OXIS  along with Williams Advanced Engineering will also investigate module construction techniques and cell matching in order to establish a final module. 

“This project is of major importance to the UK’s development of next generation cells and modules for large electric vehicles,” said Chris Flowers, LiSFAB project manager at OXIS. “The Li-S technology that we are developing in this project will also be applicable to OXIS’ other key markets such as aerospace (including space) and energy storage.”

OXIS has 36 patent families and been granted 111 patents with 108 pending, and recently saw investment from Aerotec of Brazil, a Korean electronics company and a European battery materials company.

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